Is now the time for a super quick install WMS project to help support this years’ festive peak? Alternatively, batten down the hatches and pray for January 2017 to come without too much overtime, pain and lost revenue!
In logistics terms, the Christmas break is approaching very fast. In two months, 25th November will bring annual Black Friday chaos and you can be sure large omni channel (selling both online and on the High Street) and pure online retailers have been planning their strategies for weeks if not months!
Very few businesses operate with the budget or resources of the major players such as Argos, Amazon, Next and John Lewis so where does that leave the SME market?
3 things you must consider when reviewing a super quick WMS install
When we say quick WMS install, we mean a go-live within 4 weeks or less. Legacy warehouse systems take months or years to install. They are cumbersome, ugly and they need to be built and fine tuned before the software quality is tested, typically by the end client! There is always issues and then bugs are logged and returned to development introducing months of delays. Large software businesses are inflexible and too wrapped up in their own internal procedures to try and make things happen quickly for a fast ROI (return on investment). If you plan to partner with a large business offering a legacy warehouse system, do not plan for a quick WMS install!
The core 80-90% of warehouse management processes are the same
A high speed implementation will not suit all operations but with a focused team effort and by subscribing to a quality, well tested warehouse software service already in use by lots of businesses, you’d be surprised what can be achieved in a very short space of time.
The core 80-90% of warehouse management processes are the same regardless of the product being handled or size of operation. Warehouses may have legacy processes dreamt up over years of trading but very rarely do they really need to class themselves as unique.
Below are 3 things to consider before you take the high speed route to warehouse excellence so you can enjoy your Christmas turkey!
1. Don’t install anything!
If you need speed, you need a cloud WMS. With a cloud WMS, there is nothing to install as the software is already live and being used by many other businesses in its current form. No need to spend weeks of your time and resources testing the software quality on behalf of a lazy software provider… a cloud WMS just works! All you need is an internet connection and a suitable device e.g. laptop, PC or tablet.
Your own secure database is ‘spun up’ within minutes of subscribing. Within hours, following a basic training course, you’ll be ready to start entering information. Key data setup will include customer information, current stock holding, pallet, bin and slot locations plus all your product data. If you have this data in e.g. Microsoft Excel, let your software provider import most of data for you!
Your own secure database is ‘spun up’ within minutes of subscribing.
Traditionally, tier one warehouse management functionality can take years to get right. The result tends to be a bespoke version of a packaged product which will cause no end of pain in years to come probably ruining future Christmases as everyone who understood the setup has since moved on!
2. Can you handle the pace?
High speed implementations will not suit everyone. If you do not have the resource to dedicate to training and understanding how the system works, you will not reap all the benefits of implementing any kind of warehouse management system in a short space of time. Consider what your business is capable of in addition to running the day to day operation before you start.
A good implementation team, from a customer perspective, will include 2 key roles outlined below. Some smaller businesses will see the below as a single person which is very common.
- Key contact / project manager
This person does not have to be an expert in warehousing but being fairly well organised is an important quality! They would ideally facilitate the dialogue between software provider and end users to ensure a consistent flow of communication between two parties so any delays can be communicated and planned in accordingly e.g. replaced with other tasks, if the client has fallen behind.
- A super user/s
Super user training is absolutely key to any software implementation. Having a very knowledgeable, approachable user within your operation will allow other users to ask them quick questions during day to day tasks helping remove any frustration of not fully understand how the system works in the early part of using new systems and processes.
3. Take the big wins now
Take the big wins now, fine tune later.
Many SME’s live in Excel hell with the majority of their valuable business data stored away inside the brains of key personal who may not share your enthusiasm for working long, painful hours throughout November and December.
Many SME’s live in Excel hell, solve big problems now
Within any quick install WMS project, customer implementation teams must remain focused on solving the big problems which often include replacing Excel or a bespoke, unsupported system fast.
Delaying a warehouse system go-live because of minor imperfections will cost time and money. Going live fast following a quick install WMS project and solving the big problems today will deliver a fast return on investment (ROI) to the business, improve customer service and support best practice warehousing and distribution within your operation when it needs it most.
Don’t delay, review cloud today! To discuss whether your business is suited to a pre-Christmas 2016 go-live, please contact us to discuss your requirements.